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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forensic and Fascinating
Jonathan Wilson books follow a pattern, containing a deep forensic examination of his chosen subject demonstrating his powers of analysis, depth and breadth of research, passion, enquiring mind and sheer writing ability.

His study of the history, esoterica and meaning of goalkeeping is no different containing an in-depth historical, philosophical and practical...
Published 20 months ago by G. Waterman

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3.0 out of 5 stars A detailed history of Goalkeeping from an academic
Typical Jonathan Wilson fare. A weighty read detailing how the position of 'Goalkeeper' came about. I'll assume it's accurate as I, like you, have no intention of doing anything to find out if it's a work of fiction. Full of facts and detailed histories but lacking in what generally passes for 'passion'.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you are genuinely...
Published 7 months ago by Ras


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forensic and Fascinating, 10 Dec 2012
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Jonathan Wilson books follow a pattern, containing a deep forensic examination of his chosen subject demonstrating his powers of analysis, depth and breadth of research, passion, enquiring mind and sheer writing ability.

His study of the history, esoterica and meaning of goalkeeping is no different containing an in-depth historical, philosophical and practical study of how the role of the goalkeeper originated and has developed since the game of football was invented.

He examines, profiles, critiques or interviews the colossuses of the sport from all continents of the world and his descriptions of greats such as Yashin, Zoff, Shilton, Seaman and Buffon never fail to entertain or educate.

Being Wilson he takes detours into tributaries and backwaters of the game with an acute and forensic examination of the battle for the number one position between the two fantastic Cameroon keepers N'kono and Bell and the political sensitivity of their rivalry.

Fans of literature too will have a field day with goalkeeper themed novels from writers as diverse as Camus, Nabokov and Glanville coming under scrutiny.

This is an eclectic masterpiece and anyone who has either been thrilled or stunned at the exploits of a goalkeeper or taken their place between the posts will understand what it means to be a true Outsider and be both entertained, educated and fascinated by this wonderful book.

One tiny quibble - I was a great fan of the Flying Pig, Tommy Lawrence, one of the first sweeper keepers but surely he didn't merit two mentions of Joe Mercer's eulogising quotation about him, sharper sub-editing would have caught that one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Safe as houses, 21 Jan 2013
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Having received the book for Christmas, I quickly turned to the index and scanned the pages for the surname of my goalkeeping hero: Neville Southall. Alas, his name wasn't there, and I immediately started to question the quality and validity of a book about goalkeepers without reference to the best of the lot. I was wrong to do so. Wilson has done a fantastic job, his research taking him all over the world to talk goalkeeping and goalkeepers with good, bad and indifferent custodians. I really enjoyed the chapter on the Cameroon goalkeeping rivalry (Nkono was my favourite keeper in Italia 90), and the chapter on Europe's finest is both brilliantly written and wonderfully informative. Goes one step further than Bob Wilson's excellent 'You've got to be crazy'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A present, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper (Paperback)
for my goalkeeper son and he has thoroughly enjoyed all the various articles. Nice mix of past and present so a win-win
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper (Paperback)
Wilson's previous works have already marked him out as arguably the most impressive football writer of his generation. This is another stellar contribution, an enthralling history of the goalkeeper which covers so many great names from the past. From the likes of Ricardo Zamora to Lev Yashin, many notable characters are detailed in enjoyable fashion. Recommended and I look forward to Wilson's next contribution on Argentina.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Goalkeeping as science and nostalgia, 16 May 2014
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper (Paperback)
Jonathan Wilson has the ability to convince you that football is an art form and the breadth of his knowledge about the game is so comprehensive that it sometimes feels like a totally different sport from that which fills the back pages of the tabloids. I found that he previous book "Inverting the pyramid" really made me think differently about the game and perhaps elevated it to a level that was almost scientific. In this recent book he changes tact and charts the iconic nature of goalkeepers and how they have emerged from being mavericks who were alienated from their team mates and considered differently by the fans to commensurate professionals who applied science to their trade as they became more integral in the team as the game modernised.

Personally, I suppose my interest in early football made the accounts of the Victorian goal keepers the most appealing section of the book, especially as a Southampton goalkeeper was identified as a significant figure in the evolution of this position. However, the book then changes direction and considers the role of goalkeepers throughout the world - a chapter on the two Cameroonian 'keepers being particularly interesting. The book is choc-a-bloc with detail as the author discusses the heroes of European football past and present as well as trying to evaluate whether Brazilian and Scottish goalkeepers are quite as poor as their historic reputation would suggest. As the book edges towards more familiar names of the 70's and 80's it is good to compare your own recollection of players with Wilson's assessment especially with regard to Peter Shilton who also wore the No. 1 jersey for Southampton.

Wilson presents a wide ranging view of goalkeeping and includes some interesting insights gleaned from interviews an historical sources. Some parts are more interesting than others and the chapter on penalties probably repeats mush of the same territory of Simon Kuper's book in relation to game theory and the mathematics behind penalty taking. The more philosophical account of goal keeping and an assessment of the appearance of goalkeepers in literature and popular culture is a nice bonus albeit the absence of cartoon character Billy the Fish is noticeable. As pointed out by other reviewers, some sections are more interesting than others and there are moments where you perhaps could have dealt with a wider range of British goalkeepers. However, although not quite as thought-provoking as his previous effort, this is an excellent book for those football fans looking for something more insightful than the ghost-written autobiographies that rake over the kind of nonsense written by most football journalists. This book would therefore appeal to fans who appreciate publications such as "When Sautrday comes" and "L'Equipe" which assume a certain level of intelligence from their readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Keepers' legacy in safe hands, 5 Feb 2014
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As a goalkeeper in my youth, and still a major sympathiser with those last lines of defence, I'm always interested to read anything about them, particularly an analysis so comprehensive about this. The author has clearly done A LOT of research and interviewing in compiling the book, and there are some great stories and pieces of analysis and fascinating theory. The only slight downsides are that occasionally some of the theory can get a bit repetitive - the reasons for coming out and narrowing angles for instance are repeated a number of times it seems - and also there is a tendency in some chapters for a bit of stream of consciousness to take over, with the author going off into other tenuously related stories that would have been better placed elsewhere.

Those points aren't a major annoyance though, and anybody who considers themselves a student of the art of goalkeeping will enjoy this thoroughly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Jonathan Wilson, 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper (Paperback)
Unbelievably informative and entertaining guide to the most technical and unforgiving position in football. The stories, training regimes and psychology should be studied and enjoyed by anyone aspiring to be a goalkeeper.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A detailed history of Goalkeeping from an academic, 30 Jan 2014
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Typical Jonathan Wilson fare. A weighty read detailing how the position of 'Goalkeeper' came about. I'll assume it's accurate as I, like you, have no intention of doing anything to find out if it's a work of fiction. Full of facts and detailed histories but lacking in what generally passes for 'passion'.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you are genuinely interested in the subject matter, which strangely enough I am. Even after reading this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity Missed, 29 July 2013
By 
Ben Clark (Sevenoaks, Kent) - See all my reviews
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It is okay, not terrible but certainly not in the same league as Inverting the Pyramid. I think the thing that disappointed me was lack of analysis of the phycology of goalkeeping, especially in he modern era. It touches upon it briefly but does not go into detail. I thought he missed a great job to explore what goes through goalkeepers heads as you have so much time to think and if your mistake has meant you are losing and the other goalkeeper is having a blinder, how that can eat away at you and make you feel beyond awful. I thought that this would have been far more entertaining that just brief bios of dozens of goalkeepers which this book seems to be made up of.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars myths of the laws, 7 Jun 2013
By 
Ferenc Korompai (Texas) - See all my reviews
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This is a well researched work, interesting read. It failed to get the fifth star for a gross misquote of the Penalty Kick Law on page 326.Describing a shot that hit the bar then bounced into goal from the back of the goalkeeper: "The rules state clearly that once the forward motion of the ball ceased, the penalty is considered complete." WRONG. Law 14 states: "...a goal is awarded, if before [ending up in goal] the ball touches either or both of the goalposts and/or the crossbar and/or the goalkeeper."
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The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper
The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper by Jonathan Wilson (Paperback - 7 Nov 2013)
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